Fr. Paul’s Blog2019-12-06T14:27:41+00:00
2311, 2019

Memento Mori…

By |November 23rd, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on Memento Mori…

Not the warm-fuzziest of paintings, I know... In about a week we will come to the end of our liturgical year and enter once again into a new year beginning with the season of Advent.  As I’ve mentioned in my last few Sunday homilies, the Church helps us prepare for the end of this year by drawing our focus to two different ends: the end of the world and the end of our own lives—both of which are inevitable and are coming at an unknown time. I mentioned this past Sunday that such a focus is not a morbid attempt by the Church to instill crippling fear in us or make us depressed or anxious, but rather to help bring back into perspective something that we often lose sight of: namely, our end goal of Heaven. The Church has been encouraging her faithful to keep this in mind for centuries since we don’t know the day or the hour when Our Lord will come again or when our life breath will leave us.  There even are stories of Saints throughout our 2,000 year history who would keep a skull on their desk as a reminder that [...]

1811, 2019

As Christ loved the Church…

By |November 18th, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on As Christ loved the Church…

Two Sundays ago I preached about the Resurrection of the Body/Dead, an element of the after-life that we profess belief in as Catholics every time we come together for Sunday Mass.  You may remember that I also drew connections between our gospel passage from Luke and the Catholic teaching on the topics of Marriage and Celibacy.  Given the importance of authentic Christian Marriage in today’s world, I also said at the end of Mass that I would be following up on the Church’s teaching, so, here we go! When looked at through the lens of the modern world, the words of St. Paul in Ephesians 5 are cringe-worthy.  Writing to wives AND husbands, he said: “Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.  As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.” Now, the world hears 'subordinate' and immediately thinks of a boss-to-employee/master-to-slave kind of relationship—and the Church agrees that any marriage [...]

811, 2019

Why we Confess

By |November 8th, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on Why we Confess

Greetings, everyone! I hope you all have had a good week and are staying warm with this new arctic blast settling in over Haywood County.  This past Tuesday on my day off, I hiked to Mt. Lynn Lowry with Fr. John Eckert (pastor, Sacred Heart, Salisbury) and Fr. Casey Coleman (pastor, St. Mary’s, Sylva).  It was an awesome hike that I’d like to recommend to everyone, but can’t in good conscience given its difficulty! If you’re not sure where Mt. Lynn Lowry is, it is where the illuminated Cross, visible at night to our west, is located.  The trail is an offshoot of the Waterrock Knob trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway and follows the Plott Balsam Ridge for 6 miles out and back.  I don’t think I’ve ever done a hike that strenuous, but it was worth the views and lessons learned for to the spiritual life!  Check out some of the pictures at the end of this post. Last week in my post about Humility and the Sacrament of Confession, I mentioned I would cover the Scriptural and Traditional evidences for the Sacrament.  For us as Catholics, it’s important for us to understand that we hold fast to the pillars [...]

3110, 2019

Growing in Humility…

By |October 31st, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on Growing in Humility…

Before I begin, just another thank-you to all who came to my installation this past Saturday and made it a beautiful and memorable experience for me and the parish.  It was an awesome evening and all of you blessed me in a great way. In my homily on Sunday, I preached about the importance of humility (the Tax Collector) in our relationship with God and that pride (the Pharisee) has no place before the Father.   I mentioned that one way we can grow in humility is to go to Confession on a regular basis.  It’s here in the Sacrament where we humble ourselves, recognize our need for repentance, and are embraced by Mercy.   Confession, as one of the Seven Sacraments instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church to dispense divine life to us, should be a regular part of our lives as Catholics.  What does this look like?  Well, the Church asks that we confess at least once a year (CCC2042).  However, out of personal devotion and the desire for grace to overcome struggles with sin and temptation, some people confess every month or every few months.  It is said that Pope St. John Paul [...]

1510, 2019

May God give you His peace!

By |October 15th, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on May God give you His peace!

Good afternoon parishioners of St. John’s and Immaculate Conception! May God give you His peace!  Happy feast day of St. Teresa of Avila!  I offered Mass today in the rectory for all of you and in thanksgiving for my new assignment as Pastor, which became effective at noon today.  It’s a beautiful feast day to become pastor, given the radical life of holiness we celebrate in St. Teresa, and the work in the Church and in her community that she helped bring about through her conviction and deep intimacy with Our Lord. While I was reading the gospel for Mass, I was struck as well by how Providence (Our Lord’s hand lovingly guiding the course of human history) presented our parish (and the whole Church, of course) with a beautiful ‘first gospel’ as we begin this new chapter together.   The gospel was from John 15 in which Our Lord used the example of the Vine and the Branches to describe how we are to remain connected to Him if we want to bear any fruit—and not just any fruit, but fruit that will last (Jn 15:16).  Unlike the fruits of this world—and not just citrus and stuff, [...]